Q&A: I Have a Slim Build. How Can I Get in Shape WITHOUT Losing Weight?

February 9, 2012 |  by  |  Ask the Experts

Q. So I wanted to get your advice on staying fit and healthy for those with slim builds. My son (14) is extremely athletic and is involved in sports related exercise for at least 2-3 hours a day. He has lots of muscle on his little skinny frame. What is a “healthy” way to keep on pounds, or even add, while still being healthy. ( I could use this advice as well, since im starting to work out, but don’t want to lose weight.)

The dilemma is that those with small frames, think “Oh I will just pile on the cheeseburgers and milkshakes”, but I know that’s not the answer.

PS – Unfortunately I find that those of us that are trying to LOSE weight, have very little patience for those on the OTHER end of the spectrum, but it goes both ways.


This is a two-part answer… one part focusing on nutrition and the 2nd part focusing on proper exercise.


The way to add healthy body weight is exactly the opposite of how you would lose excess body weight. To lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit (burn more calories per day than you take in). But to GAIN weight you have to take in more calories than you burn per day. Clean calories though….. Not cakes and cookies.

Clean calories from whole food sources like:

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Pastas
  • Whole Breads
  • Rice
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs

Your Son should be eating every 2-3 hours for a daily total of about 5-6 meals a day. Below is a sample weight gain plan for someone like your Son with a fast metabolism and a Genetic predisposition to be slim.

Meal 1. 3 whole eggs, two pieces of whole wheat toast, a breakfast meat and oatmeal. 2 cups of water.

Meal 2. Grilled chicken breast sandwich (two pieces of whole wheat bread), 1 piece of fruit. 2 cups of water.

Meal 3. A quality weight gain shake with up to 600 calories. 2 cups of water.

Meal 4. Pasta with ground Meat and some green veggies. 2 cups of water.

Meal 5. Fish, veggies, and a baked potato. 2 cups of water.

It’s ok to cut back if needed but he really should try to eat as much of these kind of meals as possible. Try to favor whole foods as demonstrated in the Plant Based Cookbook or the Paleo Recipe Book.

Exercise Program

To Pack on Healthy Body weight without all the Fat that usually accompanies it, He is gonna have to cut his exercise duration back and train more effectively with weights. He should be in the Weight Room no more than 1 hour at a time and no more than 3-4 days a week. Too much exercise will burn too many calories also, and he should be conserving calories for muscle growth.

1 Hour is all that’s needed, and anything more can easily put him into a state of over training. And when you over train, progress halts and may even make you lose weight.

The 3 main objectives any person looking to gain lean muscle mass should be:

  • Stimulating muscle growth with compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once like squats, bench presses, dead lifts, and military presses. All executed with perfect form to ensure safety.
  • Properly feeding and fueling muscle growth with clean calories as stated above.
  • Getting adequate rest so muscles can repair and grow, because muscle growth occurs when you’re not in the gym, but When you’re fully rested.

These are the guidelines that football players, powerlifters, and many other athletes use to Pack on healthy weight. Follow them and I’m sure they’ll bring you both success.

Take care, and keep pushing.

Chris Fitness

Olive Oyl

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
About the author

Chris Fitness is a New Jersey raised and New York based personal trainer with a passion for seeing people reach their fitness and health goals. Through his One on One training service and website, ChrisFitnessWeb.com, Chris uses his love for fitness as a way to educate people on effective training and nutrition. With 8 years in the Army Reserve under his belt, he is no stranger to commitment and discipline. Chris is committed to helping YOU get and stay healthy.

Leave a Reply